Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie

Nothing makes me old like waking up with creaking bones and the news that David Bowie is dead.

I wasn't really big fan of David Bowie when I was kid. The whole Ziggy Stardust persona was just a bit too weird for me at the time. I actually got into Bowie about the same time as a lot of other people, back in the 1980's with Bowie's reinvention of himself  as a pop star with mainstream Top 40 hits like Modern Love, Let's Dance and China Girl. Two of my favorites song from that era were from projects that didn't receive a lot of favorable notice, Jazzin' For Blue Jean and Absolute Beginners.

David Bowie had a really big hit when he teamed up with Queen for Under Pressure, a song that was for a time stolen from us by Vanilla Ice but we got it back. Both David Bowie and Freddie Mercury provided vocals that cut through the clutter of pop music with a plaintive howl of rage and despair against the weight of the pressure around them and pleading for "just one more chance". It remains one my all time favorite songs.

Working my way backwards, I began to appreciate Bowie's earlier stuff more, songs like Rebel Rebel, Fame, Suffragette City and Heroes. And if ever seen or heard "Ground control to Major Tom" used as part of a meme or pop culture reference, you know the influence Bowie had on music through the latter half of the 20th century.

David Bowie was most definitely a man and an artist ahead of his time. But once the 21st century arrived, it seemed the future caught up to David Bowie and we began hearing less and less from him.

This past Friday, David Bowie's newest album dropped. It was David's birthday; he turned 69 years old. Wow, that is so hard to fathom. Even harder to take was that two days later, he would be gone, losing a battle against cancer.

If I may (and it is my blog so there), I need to wallow for a moment in my own introspection. This is going to start happening more and more as I get older, the icons of my youth, singers, actors, writers and more, are going to start falling away. It's a hard thing to take but that's the way it is. What counts is what we do when we're here. David Bowie had a profound impact on our culture that resonated beyond the peak of his popularity, beyond even the number of his days. We can't all have that wide an impact but we can have an impact on a few people, maybe only on one person. It is up to us to make it a good one.

Everyone be good to one another.

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Lazarus from Black Star, David Bowie's final album

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